Website Design – Part-1 of 3

Website Design – First Impressions

Our three part Blog series will help you make the right first impression with great website design.

One of the meanings for the word impression is a “sensation”. Impressions have strong effect on our psyche, as they produce feelings on a sub-conscious and conscious level. Researchers from NYU found that we make eleven major decisions about one another within the first seven seconds of meeting. Our minds are quick to critique and judge whether we want to stay in this interaction or if we need an immediate exit strategy.

Part 1: How alluring is your homepage?

Your homepage has seven seconds to make either a positive or negative effect on your potential client. According to a recent study, 70% of people go online first to help them locate a business. Are you making the right impression?

Identify the goal of your website. Consumers want to know what sets you apart from your competitors. It is a good idea to convey your company’s mission statement and your brand’s philosophy. Make sure website design matches you company’s overall brand message.

Set the tone and image for your site. Think of your site as putting on clothes in the morning. Is your site saying shorts and flip-flops when a shirt and tie would make a better impression?

Add teasers to your homepage. Adding articles to keep your users informed is very important in order to keep users coming back to your website. Post updated related articles only displaying a portion for the viewer to read. If they more they can click “read more.”

Check back next Wednesday as we share Part 2 of our series, “First Impressions are Strong: Make Yours Rock”.

Website Design – Part 3 of 3

Part 3: Website Design – Connecting

So you have their attention, but are you making a connection? People like to feel like they are a part of something big. Having a compelling statement will draw your visitor in and entice them to take action further within your website.

Develop a connection. Visitors to your site should feel like they are part of your family (your brand). Ask your first time users to sign-up for an account, subscribe to newsletters, or share your site with others. Have the links available to do this directly on the homepage so you won’t risk losing visitors as they navigate throughout your website.

Be social! Blogging will help you connect with your customers. Blogs reinforce your company’s brand and your expertise in your industry. Update your events, new products, or any other relevant information religiously and encourage your visitors to stay connected through your company’s social media sites.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO). SEO is the most effective way to drive traffic to your website. Websites are ranked by design usability, the amount of relevant content, and social media activity. Every ‘like’ and ‘comment’ on social networks will help increase your search engine ranking. Your website design structure and the proper placement of high value keywords will help optimize your homepage and increase your search engine ranking. The goal is to keep visitors on your website, therefore, strategic website design is imperative. All good relationships are built on trust, so make sure visitors to your website can find the essential information they are looking for with quick, readily accessible, and functional hot-links.

Remember, people buy from companies they like and trust. Website design can strength or weaken your brand, make sure your website is an asset and not a liability.

We hope you have enjoyed our three part series on great elements of website design.

Website Design – Krewe Rugby

Krewe-RugbyKrewe Rugby needed a site overhaul, specifically with the ability to easily manage their own content, whether it  was photos, videos, documents or other information. We worked closely with them to make sure they were able to spread the word about Krewe to their friends and fans.

Corporate Social Responsibility

Corporate Social Responsibility Means Good Business

alpnrock_logo_highres-e1367522531592[1]Playbook Public Relations client, Alp-n-Rock (ANR), a unique luxury clothing company, founded its business with a cornerstone of corporate social responsibility. Their idea was to give a percentage of the company’s profits to the non-profit organization Room to Read. ANR’s founder, Suzanne Reich, is passionate about educating girls on a global scale, as she understands educated women help break the poverty cycle in one generation, so she started the clothing line as a way to give back. What a powerful message this sends to the consumer!

“You can actually make a lot of money and do a lot of good in the world,” says Peter Henry, Dean of NYU’s Stern School of Business. According to Dr. Henry, students who are enrolling in the prestigious business school are not just looking to be financially successful; they also want to impact the world in a positive way. As our economies become more global and we seethe interconnectedness of our world, this line of thinking is moving to the forefront.

Let’s take a look at Tom’s Shoes, another company benefiting from corporate social responsibility at its cornerstone. For every pair of shoes purchased, a pair is donated. The consumer naturally wants to support this mission. It feels good to them to be able to reach out and help in a way they may not be able to do on their own. And it also generates a lot of revenue for Tom’s. Would this company be as successful if they didn’t have such a strong corporate ethic to make a difference? Probably not.

The way consumers shop has evolved dramatically over the past decade. No longer do you have just one hardware store in town or only one strip of local shops to get goods from. Consumers have thousands of options. Adding corporate social responsibility to your business plan may be just what your business needs to get your employees and consumers excited about the products or services you offer.

For a growing number of consumers, big corporations are seen as villainous. Public and media awareness is laser focused on issues like:  corporate greed, off-shore out-sourcing, and golden parachutes for corporate executives. Now when a business violates safe environmental and work-site policies, it is front page news.

Recently, Walmart was in the news for leaving their mulch in the parking lot too long causing the possibility of pesticides moving into a local water source, the Catawba River in North Carolina. A lawyer for Walmart said, “Annually, our stores give back millions of dollars within their local communities specifically for environmental issues.” And is correct.

Walmart has been the target of bad press (well-deserved) for years, but now the company is taking a leadership role in sustainable initiatives corporate social responsibility. Walmart demands that all of their vendors comply to EPA regulations, regardless of locality. This means that the vendor who supplies red folder you buy for your children’s school supplies, has to ensure every piece of their supply chain is practicing sustainable business practices, i.e. no toxic red dye and human rights violations from off-shore suppliers. Walmart is also committed to reducing packaging and waste to landfills by over 5% by the year 2013. Walmart’s initiative to reduce waste associated with packaging is unprecedented. They also have led the way utilizing innovative energy saving initiatives such as using renewable resources and LED lighting. Walmart knows helping our planet also helps their bottom line. It also keeps the customers coming in.

If you had a choice, shop at Superman’s store or Lex Luther’s, what would it be? Take it even deeper: who would you rather have a conversation with? Because that’s what marketing essentially is – a conversation.

Business owners need to consider implementing a “corporate social responsibility” into their business models. Being authentic is essential, pick a cause that you and your employees feel strongly about. Small to medium sized companies like ANR to giant corporations like Target can rally behind the same cause.  Both companies feel strongly about supporting education. Let’s emphasize those key words, “FEEL STRONGLY.” Authenticity is imperative otherwise your consumers will feel, and the positive impact will be lost.

Social media sites, like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn provide an outlet for your business to engage in conversation with your customers in a way that was not possible before. It is a great and free venue for sharing your companies green initiatives and corporate social responsibility policies.  Start sharing all the ways your company positively contributes to your employees and the communities it serves. Start marketing that good feeling and inspire others to do the same. The days of a rather hip slogan are passé.

Content Marketing Firm

CONTENT Marketing – Content is King of the Cage

Friday, June 1st Fight Night Productions will put on a show at Tampa’s A La Carte Pavilion to showcase some of the Bay Area’s hottest prospects in boxing.  I grew up in the Tyson/Holyfield ear… I mean “era.”  And so I’ve always been into the sport.  But my love for boxing has been replaced by my fascination with the UFC.  And I’m not alone.  Though I wince just seeing someone get their finger pricked for a blood test and feel it in my own kidney watching a fighter get a heel kick to theirs (which, by the way, is now illegal under UFC rules), I find myself enthralled with this gut-wrenchingly violent sport and not enthralled in a watching a train-wreck sort of way.  My first (and only) live UFC event was in Vegas–Rashad Evans’ take down of Forrest Griffin in ‘08.  The pageantry and drama of the whole night is what wooed me.  But many fervent UFC fans have never even seen a live event.  When you think about that fact and you think about what the ultimate fighters have been up against―political opposition and state licensing issues―, it’s an amazing feat.  The main reason that mixed martial arts has become one of the fastest growing sports organizations on the planet has much to do with marketing, specifically content marketing.  For those who are less familiar with the term, content marketing involves the creation and distribution of relevant and valuable content to a specific target audience.


The UFC masters content marketing with a holistic attack.  “The Ultimate Fighter” reality show on Spike TV does wonders for the sport, allowing fans a transparent view of what it takes to make it as a fighter, and the show endears fans to up-and-comers.  Charismatic UFC President Dana White’s video blogs on the UFC’s web channel, which has over 370,000 subscribers, serve to fuel fans’ interest for upcoming events.  The UFC uses long-form content for the pre-fight programming―documentaries about the fighters that delve into their family backgrounds and what drives them to seek fighting championships.  And as far as social media content goes… Well, while most sports leagues are telling their athletes when not to Tweet, White gives his fighters incentives to use Twitter and labels Twitter as “the greatest marketing tool in the history of the world.”  What do we tell our clients about posting and tweeting?  Be inimitable.  Be provocative.  Be unforgettable.  Be authentic.  Yes, White is all of the above.  In fact, he’s authentically authentic.


As a business owner, you may say, “I don’t have the budget to create a reality television show.”  Maybe not, but believe it or not, many of the marketing content strategies used by the UFC can be employed without a TKO to your marketing budget.

Marketing to Millennials

Marketing to Millennials

smartphonesMarketing experts are talking about how to reach Millennials, people born between 1981 and the year 2000. And they should be. This group is the largest market segment in our society today totaling over 80 million people, surpassing the size of the baby boomers and the GenX groupings. Millennials have careers and money to spend. However, because of the way our society consumes information and data marketing to this group is very different than marketing to the Baby Boomers or even to GenX.

Today’s technology (i.e. tablets and smartphones) quickly links us to our friends around the world. According to data gathered from AD Week, the majority of Millennials own tablets and smartphones and check into their devices on average about 48 times a day.

Millennials tend to reject the traditional marketing paths of the past. You are not going to reach this consumer with a celebrity spokesman on TV or a gimmicky mailing campaign. They tend to reject this sort of marketing message and in turn will ultimately reject your brand. If they do reject your brand, watch out because they will share their feeling socially. In fact, Millennials share more of their brand likes or dislikes than any other consumer group. Social sharing and recommendations from their family, friends, and even anonymous online reviews influence their buying decisions.

So how do you reach this group?

1.    Create a mobile ready website.

There is a more than 68% chance that your website will only be seen from a smart phone, or tablet. Your website should be easy to navigate from a mobile device, or it will render itself useless to an entire generation.

2.    Create a social media strategy.

42% of Millennials log on to Facebook daily, and over 60% follow brands on Facebook. Create a social media strategy that increases your interaction with your target market. Decide what outlets you need to be on and keep at it with a consistent message.

3.    Create authentic interaction and monitor what is being said about your company.

Be real, or at least appear that way by limiting the gimmicks and false claims. Since Millennials trust recommendations more than claims by brands, you need to be well aware of your testimonials and what people are saying about your brand online.

With Millennials, the focus needs to be on technology and creating an authentic, intimate brand experience. Your website has to be mobile ready and easy to use. You have to have a brand presence across all social media channels or your brand risks becoming irrelevant to this large consumer group.

For help making your website mobile ready, social media management, and increasing your word of mouth PR, call Playbook today!

The Importance of Blogging

The Importance of Blogging

sharing-contentAn effective business blog has the potential to result in companies gaining, on average, a 55% increase in traffic.  The more often you post, the more often Google indexes your site.

If you think of your website as your companies store front―windows for the would-be customer to look through to see what you offer―think of your blog as a window to your company’s soul…and personality.  It’s here where you can truly connect with your current and potential customers.  We don’t buy a product or service that we don’t understand or believe in.  How does it work? What does it do for me?  Without the answers to these questions, it’s difficult for a consumer to take action.

A blog gives us the know-how…and the access.  When was the last time you followed through with purchase based on something you read in a magazine?  Did you clip the article and carry it with you to the store?  Probably not.  Blogs are 63% more likely to influence purchase decisions than magazines.

What’s the expression? You can never be too thin or too rich…or have eyelashes that are too long? Add “you can’t have too much content” to the list. Give me more.  If your business has 40+ different landing pages, you’ll generate ten times more leads than the slackers with less than six pages.  And once you get that blog post tally up above 200, you’ll generate three and a half times more leads than those who have less than 21 posts. 200 may seem like a daunting number, but start today and it will be here before you know it.

If Blog CONTENT IS KING, then social media users make up its vast Kingdom.

According to a Forrester report, “Twitterers are the connected of the connected…Twitterers are three times more likely to be Creators (people who create and share content via blog posts and YouTube) as the general US population.”

And what are folks flocking to social media for?  When Twitterers were surveyed about why they follow certain brands, “Interesting Content” came in at number three.

According to Tom Pick at, “63% of companies said they had improved their marketing effectiveness, simply by posting blog content on social media channels.”

What are you waiting for?  Curious about QUALITY content marketing?  Contact Playbook Public Relations, LLC today.


PR & SEO – A Happy Marriage

PR & SEO – A Happy Marriage

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PR & SEO – A Happy Marriage

First and foremost, PR has changed. Many business owners have a misconception that Public Relations (PR) is only a strategy for large companies, who can afford to spend big money to manage their brand. However, in reality, almost every kind of business needs a PR strategy. Today most of us do online research before we make a purchase. Search engines have leveled the playing field for small and medium size businesses to compete with large companies on a local level. Suddenly small businesses are visible on search engines and engaging with large audiences via their social media sites. The way your brand is represented on-line is modern day PR.

Effective PR strategies have these three components:

1) Brand Alliance – Your online presence represents your business in a way that matches your company’s mission and values.

2) Happy Customer Social Engagement: People are satisfied with their experience with your company and are sharing that message. Are you actively monitoring your social media sites to see how your customers really feel about your brand? This is called Online Reputation Management (ORM).

3) And perhaps most importantly, a Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategy. Can consumers find you when they search online? If they can’t find you, they WILL find your competition! According to a poll by, over 61% of people use the Internet to research products before their purchase, and 75% of them won’t scroll past the first page of search results.1

So how does a PR campaign help your SEO efforts? Here are 4 reasons PR & SEO have a happy marriage:

1) Press Releases – Share your press release with a wire service and on your social media sites. This kind of sharing will increase traffic to your website and boost your site’s search engine ranking.

2) Blogging and Guest Blogging – Blogs are important because they allow you to share your expertise and become a trusted source of information and because they will help your SEO efforts. It is important to write a keyword-targeted blog on a frequent basis. If you are not a good writer, hire a company like Playbook who can take your ideas and formulate them in a meaningful way. We will also help you develop relationships with other bloggers and key social influencers, which give you the ability to share and expand voice.

3) Social Media Content – An effective social media strategy that produces quality content will help your SEO efforts.

4) Add a Press Section to Your Website – Keep a section on your site that you keep updating with all your press links, and everywhere you have been featured. These links will increase your SEO efforts. Google alert will help you keep track of all your press.

With over 131 billion searches per month on the web2, it is vital you get your company seen on-line. PR & SEO are cost-effective, long-term strategy to increase your visibility online and in the marketplace.

1 Interconnected World: Shopping and Personal Finance, 2012
2 Comscore, January 2010

Sally Dee-Syracuse Sports Hall of Fame

Sally DeeWe are proud to announce that Playbook Public Relations, LLC’s Director, Sally Dee, was inducted into the Syracuse Sports Hall of Fame’s class of 2012 in October of 2012.  Sally’s pre-Playbook Public Relations career was as a professional golfer on the LPGA Tour.  She’s attended Westhill High School and was a star on the links and on the basketball court.  Scoring 1,688 career points and leading her team to the NYS Girl’s Basketball Championship, where she was named the tournament MVP.  Sally also won the NYS Girls Golf State Championship earlier that year.

Collegiately she was a three-time academic All-American at the University of South Florida (USF), and was USF’s Student-Athlete of the Year and two-time Outstanding Scholar-Athlete of the Year.  A cum laude graduate in 1993, Sally was an NCAA Athlete-of-the-Year finalist her senior year.

Among very few Central New York women to become professional tour golfers, Sally played on the LPGA Tour from 1998-2002.  While on the Tour, she competed in the women’s US Open, British Open, and Canadian Open plus the LPGA Championship – all majors.  She had two top 5 finishes, and five top 10’s during her time on tour.  She also won the ReMax World Long Drive crown in 2004 and was a contestant on the Big Break X in 2008.

A graduate assistant women’s golf coach at USF from 2009-2011, Sally earned her MBA last year…and oh yes, the Syracusan-turned-Floridian was summa cum laude.

The eight-member inductees include Sally Dee, along with Pat Donnelly, Dick Easterly, John Johnstone, Bob Kallfelz, Brad Kotz, Beezie Madden, and Royce Newell.  You can read more about the other inductees here.

This brings the total number of GSS Hall of Fame members to 198.  The first ceremony was held in 1987.

Congrats, Sally!  What an honor.  We are so proud to have you as part of Playbook’s Team!


Social Media Tip- #SharetheGood

Social Media Tip #SharetheGood


Social Media Tip – #SharetheGood

Social media can get a bad rap. We blame social media for the declining social skills of our children, for keeping people plugged into their computers for hours of their free time and a whole slew of other problems that could be caused by the advent of social media.

But it can also be a tool for a whole range of positive things. Within minutes, people can connect to their family and friends that are continents away to share photos and stories of their lives. People share their favorite experiences, their favorite quotes, their accomplishments and their dreams.

This sharing of the “good” has given rise to what BlogSpot terms, Human to Human Marketing. Companies that use Human to Human Marketing make their messaging and images personal, conversational, and inspiring. This approach often creates consumers that feel more brand loyalty and “closer” to these brands.

Can a brand be your “friend”? On social media, it can. Your brand message can show up in their timeline right next to their best friend getting married and photos of their cousin’s new baby. Making sure your images and photos have the Human approach ensures that you get noticed and remembered.

Consider adding this approach to your marketing strategy this year, especially the social media plan. You can still sell your products with adding in a call-to-action in these posts. The call-to-action could be growing your email list, a targeted offer or direction to your website for increased traffic.

If you are ready to create a Human to Human Marketing plan, we can help, contact us today!

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